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PHYSICAL AND MENTAL EXHAUSTION COMMON
Long nights spent in often uncomfortable air raid shelters are disrupting the lives of civilians. The enemy raiders’ tactic of extending the period under alert up to several hours is taking its toll. Charles Grech later recalled the effect on his boyhood community of nights under alert which:
“tired out people and lowered their morale, creating physical and mental exhaustion. Sometimes, air raid warning signals were given at 7pm and would remain in effect throughout the whole night, till 8am the following morning. Women, children and older people took cover in the shelters and spent the entire night there. Some men, especially those who had a day’s work ahead of them, only go down to the shelter when they heard gunfire. It was not unusual to see men racing to the shelter in their underpants or pyjamas…and only realised this when they got down there and stood in front of a gaggle of wide-eyed women.
Sometimes, one or two women would also pluck up courage to leave the shelter and come back with some hot coffee and something to eat for their children or parents or some warm milk for baby. [My] mother was quite organised for this eventuality and the first thing she did in the evening was prepare a thermos flask full of coffee and pack some food in her basket in case of emergency. (1)
ARMS STOCKS IN MALTA AS AT 30 JUNE 1941
- Rifles: 17318
- Mortars: 111
- Machine guns:
- Bren 634
- Lewis 616
- Vickers 293
- Thompson sub. 168
- Besa 6
AIR RAIDS DAWN 2 JULY TO DAWN 3 JULY 1941
Weather Hot and humid.
No air raids.
OPERATIONS REPORTS WEDNESDAY 2 JULY 1941
ROYAL NAVY 830 Squadron Fleet Air Arm 8 Swordfish layed mines in approaches to Tripoli Harbour; they also bombed three large and several small motor vessels and started fires.
AIR HQ Arrivals 8 Blenheim 110 Squadron, 2 Wellington. Departures 1 Sunderland, 6 Wellington. Aircraft casualties 69 Squadron Marylands reconnaissance Pantelleria and Tripoli Harbour. 82 Squadron 3 Blenheims attacked Homs destroying barracks and vehicles. 3 Blenheims attacked Buerat barracks, destroying vehicles. 148 Squadron 7 Wellingtons bombed port facilities and ships in Tripoli Harbour; ships damaged.
TA QALI Two Hurricanes collided on landing, both badly damaged.
FORTRESS ROYAL ENGINEERS Bomb Disposal UXB reported 2.
(1) Raiders Passed, Charles B Grech translated by Joseph Galea Debono, Midsea Books 1998
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